HOW WE CONFIGURED THE TEST SYSTEM: We tested the graphics cards in this article on an Gigabyte GA-EX58 Extreme motherboard powered by a Core i7 920 quad-core processor and 6GB of OCZ DDR3 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring these test system was enter the system BIOS and set all values to their "optimized" or "high performance" default settings. Then we manually configured the memory timings and disabled any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 was installed. When the installation was complete we fully updated the OS, and installed the latest DX10 redist and various hotfixes, along with the necessary drivers and applications.
|Relevant Software: |
Windows Vista Ultimate SP1
DirectX March 2009 Redist
ATI Catalyst v9.3b
NVIDIA GeForce Drive v185.63
3DMark Vantage v1.0.1
Left 4 Dead*
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars v1.5*
* - Custom benchmark
||The latest version of Futuremark's synthetic 3D gaming benchmark, 3DMark Vantage, is specifically bound to Windows Vista-based systems because it uses some advanced visual technologies that are only available with DirectX 10, which y isn't available on previous versions of Windows. 3DMark Vantage isn't simply a port of 3DMark06 to DirectX 10 though. With this latest version of the benchmark, Futuremark has incorporated two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, in addition to support for the latest PC hardware. We tested the graphics cards here with 3DMark Vantage's Performance preset option, which uses a resolution of 1280x1024 no anti-aliasing and trilinear filtering.|
The NVIDIA powered cards sweep the top three spots in our 3DMark Vantage tests, besting all of the AMD offerings. NVIDIA's latest Release 185 drivers give the cards a nice boost in performance here, that allows even the GeForce GTX 260 Core 216 to pull ahead of the brand new Radeon HD 4890 in 3DMark Vantage.